By Russell Kane and Terry Thompson-Anderson
During the 2013 Hill Country Wine and Music Festival in Fredericksburg, author and Chef Terry Thompson-Anderson and wine writer Russell Kane collaborated on an evening of food and wine pairings to raise money and awareness for the Texas Center for Wine and Culinary Arts, featuring recipes from Terry’s upcoming book, Texas Terroir: Celebrating the Flavors of the Lone Star State. We are sharing notes from this enjoyable event to highlight the fun and sensory experiences of pairing local food with Texas wine—to inspire your own pairings at home.
Spicy, Texas-Style Hummus with Pita Chips
Mushroom Rockefeller with a Hint of Herbsaint
Crostini with Salsa Pomodoro
Hilmy Cellars Tempranillo Rosé
Boiled Gulf Shrimp on Asian Pear Slice with
Texas Peach Rémoulade Sauce
Curried Crab with Saffron on Watermelon Wedge
Pedernales Cellars Albariño
Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup with Pesto Garni
Texas Hills Vineyard Barbera
Mini Salad in Bibb Lettuce Cup with Cilantro Dressing,
Tortilla Crisps and Seared Scallop
Duchman Family Winery Vermentino
Sliced Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Orange-Chipotle Sauce on Onion and Jalapeño Polenta with Peppered French Green Beans
Woodrose Winery Tempranillo
Seared and Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Spanish Chorizo and Mushroom Sauce on a bed of Kale with Jalapeños and Olives
Torre di Pietra Petite Syrah
Fredericksburg Peach Bread Pudding with
Peach Schnapps and Whiskey Sauce and Chantilly Cream
Messina Hof Mistella “Glory” Late Harvest Muscat Canelli
Chocolate Bouchon with Salted Agave Caramel
and Cointreau Crema
Fredericksburg Winery Orange Muscat
Color and Spice. The amuse-bouche had a predominance of spice, acid and color; the spicy, piquant hummus begged for a quenching counterpoint of sweetness in the wine while the salsa’s tomato and acidity sought a bright, red component and the acidity offered by the Hilmy Cellars Rosé made from Texas tempranillo.
The ultimate seafood wine. The elements of seafood and Asian spices in the first course led to the selection of the Pedernales Cellars Albariño with its characteristic crisp pear, peach and citrus flavors. (Albariño should be the go-to wine for Gulf seafood.)
Soup and red wine. This is perhaps the most difficult pairing, as most red wines are too harshly tannic. Enter the second course and Texas Hills Vineyard Barbera with its Italian heritage, crisp acidity and smooth, light tannic structure to accompany the tomato-basil soup. To illustrate the culinary flexibility of this wine, it has also successfully paired with red, raw maguro tuna.
Salad, herbs and wine. Salad is the next most challenging food-wine match, especially with the pungency of cilantro present. Our mindset was simply to select a white Italian-style wine (Duchman Family Winery Vermentino) that always yields more herb descriptors than fruit, which it provided with its intense minerality on par with the lettuce and scallop. This course also highlighted the fact that white wines can follow reds—providing a refreshing interlude in multicourse dining.
Red meat equals red wine. This is perhaps the most obvious and overused rule in the food-wine pairing arsenal. However, the fourth course’s match was determined not by this rule but rather by the predominance of the culinary accompaniments of garlic, pepper and orange. They led to a Spanish red grape and specifically to the Woodrose Winery Tempranillo with its peppery, orange-zest finish.
Earth, smoke and spice. Pork, a near-perfect chef’s canvas, allows the auxiliary flavors to lead the wine pairing. Here, the searing and paprika in the chorizo yielded smoke, the mushrooms and kale evoked the earth and the piquant jalapeños demanded the Torre di Pietra Petite Syrah that delivered one for one on each element of this dish.
Alcohol, fruit and relative sweetness. The whiskey in the bread pudding sauce begged for a high-alcohol wine with fruit dominance and led to Messina Hof’s Muscat Canelli, an aromatic, fresh, fruity wine fortified with brandy. The After Bite was very sweet and sticky. The Fredericksburg Winery Orange Muscat resulted in an orange-on-orange pairing. For both desserts, the wine was selected to be sweeter than the associated dish—a critical point because, if reversed, the results would be a bitter-tasting wine.
Dr. Russ Kane is author of The Wineslinger Chronicles: Texas on the Vine. He also blogs at vintagetexas.com. Terry Thompson-Anderson is author of many books including her upcoming book, Texas Terroir: Celebrating the Flavors of the Lone Star State.